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Annette Kruisbrink  : Women Composers Guitar Transcriptions DOZ and CD

ELISABETH CLAUDE JACQUET de la GUERRE : Cannaris ; Menuet: ELISABETTA de GAMBARINI : Minuet: MARIA THERESIA von PARADIS : Das Gartnerliedchen aus dem Siegwart ; LOUISE FARRENC : Studies No 10 and No 21:EMILIE MAYER : Children’s World Op48 Nos , 2, 4, and 6: KATE SIMMONS : Racquet  Galop: MEL BONIS : Au Temps Jadis; Calineries; Priere; La Puce ; Le Patre dans la Montagne: CECILE CHAMINADE : Gavotte ; Tarantelle: ETHEL SMYTH: March of the Women: AMY BEACH : Minuet ; Gavotte: ANNETTE KRUISBRINK : Cube.

Research, transcriptions, revision, fingerings, and lay – out by Annette Kruisbrink . 

Les Productions D’Oz: 40 pages (includes a CD recorded by Annette Kruisbrink)

This volume follows on from two previous ones, Guitar Music by Women Composers, and Salon Music for guitar by Women Composers, both fascinating and with a considerable amount of unknown music that really surprised me. This latest one is a collection of keyboard pieces, (or keyboard and voice) from the 17th to the 21st century.

Most of the composers here are still quite unknown , although of late a few of them are getting more in the public’s eyes and ears, thanks to people like Annette and the book begins with the earliest writer, Elisabeth Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1665 – 1729) who was a French Harpsichordist and composer who wrote many works including a ballet, a Te Deum, cantatas, and songs and many more. These two works are the 7th and 9th movements from her Suite in Dm for Clavichord. There are many ornaments in these two short works that make them far from easy to play, but Annette  has done a fine job with her fingerings and the transcriptions are utterly workable on the guitar, if not too easy!

Elisabetta de Gambarini (1731 – 1765) was an English composer, conductor and painter, and she was the first female composer in the UK to publish a collection of keyboard music, one of which was the Lessons for the Harpsichord, from which the Minuet in A Major came. A piece in two voices throughout, it has some wonderfully imaginative moments and the melody is full of unexpected rhythms and musical moments.

Maria Theresia von Paradis (1759 – 1824) was an Austrian composer and performer who lost her sight at a very early age, but that didn’t stop her from playing or composing as she had an exceptional memory and apparently learned over 60 concertos by heart, and wrote 5 operas, 3 cantatas, and many other works besides. Her piece here was originally for voice and keyboard and is No4 in a song cycle called Zwolf Lieder auf ihrer Reise in Musik gesetzt. Her ‘Gardener’s Song from the Siegwart’ is a Larghetto 6/8 with a lovely flow to it, and is written in Dm with a dropped D 6th for added depth. Again, like everything else in this volume, this feels utterly like a guitar piece from the outset, which is only due to Annette’s superb transcription and fingerings.

Louise Farrenc (1804 – 1875) was a French composer – pianist who wrote many orchestral, vocal and choral works, and also many chamber works, and lots of keyboard works too. The two pieces here come from 25 Etudes Progressifs Op50 for piano, both still in their original keys.No10, in A Major is astonishing in that it is SO like a guitar piece in style that you would swear it wasn’t a transcription at all, but it is, whereas No21 in Gm is entirely staccato, and so is a great study for that reason. It is also very cleverly written and works ever so well on the guitar.

Emilie Mayer (1812 – 1883) was a German composer/pianist who was very well thought of in her lifetime and her music particularly famous, and she composed a large oeuvre including 6 piano trios, string quartets, 8 violin sonatas, 12 cello sonatas, a piano concerto, concert overtures, an opera and 8 symphonies. The pieces here are Nos 2, 4 and 6 from her 6 Klavierstucke fur die Kinderwelt Op48, with No2 being a 2, and sometimes 3 voiced piece in Am, very melodic and friendly, No4 a waltz rhythmed piece in Em and finally No6 a serious little Gm piece.

Kate Simmons (1850 – 1926) was an American composer who donated all the money she received from her music to charities, this piece Racquet Galop, being her best known piece that sold 100,000 copies. This piece is my favourite piece of the book, being very lively, full of amusing details, and ever so much fun to play.

Mel Bonis ( 1858 – 1937) was a French composer who wrote nearly 300 works in several genres including chamber music, choral works, a mass, orchestral pieces, and music for piano .The 5 printed here are all from Album Pour Les Tout Petits with 20 Pieces Op103.Au Temps Jadis (A Long Time Ago) is a lovely piece in two canon –style voices. Calineries (Cuddles) is an arpeggio driven piece, again very guitaristic, in F Major, whereas Priere (Prayer) is very short and serious, again in 2 voices. La puce (The Chip) is an amusing piece that jumps all over the place full of staccato and humorous moments, while the final Le Patre Dans la Montagne (The Father in the Mountain)is a 6/8 piece that glides gently along in Gm.

Cecile Chaminade (1857 – 1944) was a French pianist/composer who recorded many piano rolls of some of her best pieces, and wrote also, for orchestra, chamber groups, an opera, and a ballet. Her 2 pieces represented in this book come from Album des Enfants Op123 series 1 , a set of 12 pieces , the Gavotte set in Am , and great fun to play, and the Tarantelle , also in Am, very lively and requiring a good technique to do it justice.

Ethel Smyth (1858- 1944) was a British composer who wrote a great many works and received a Damehood , being the first female composer to do so. Her March of the Women was written as a result of her interest in the suffragette movement and was originally for women’s choir. Set in A Major, it is very chord – driven and requires a little care to get it to come out successfully!

Amy Beach (1867 – 1944) was an American composer/pianist who had an astonishing musical ability even from being only 1 year old and who was exceedingly well – known in her lifetime, writing many works of all description. Her 2 pieces here are part of Children’s Album Op36, containing originally 5 pieces, the first Minuet a gentle piece full of some very clever writing and often chord – based, whilst the Gavotte with a dropped D 6th has the first section in Dm, and very dancelike, and a second section in D Major, using a drone of the 6th and 5th strings underneath a pleasant staccato type of melody.

The final piece is by the transcriber herself Annette Kruisbrink which is an original idea called Cube where every bar is to be played 4 times but, with free tempi, dynamics and articulations, and is a fine conclusion ton what is an amazing book, full of extremely fine pieces by some composers, most f whom, you will probably never have come across before, and although only Annette’s piece is originally for guitar, the others all being transcriptions, let it be said that they all fit really finely onto the guitar and really don’t seem as if they were originally written for other instruments!  So all in all, this is a great addition to the world of printed guitar music.


Chris Dumigan

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